How to get out of a reading slump
We all have these times - we start to get unproductive with our reading, the weeks pass, and we don't read anything.
In my experience, this happens when I read a book that I don't particularly enjoy, so that reading becomes a bit of a chore. I also experience a reading slump when I'm very busy - I challenged myself to read a book a week at the start of the year, but if my university schedule gets intense I tend to read for the sake of fulfilling my challenge.
Sound familiar? Read on to hear my top tips for getting out of your reading slump and starting to enjoy reading again!
Tip 1: Choose a book that you know you'll enjoy to start with
'Guilty pleasure books' spring to mind here. The best way for getting out a reading slump is to read a chill, relaxing book that doesn't demand too much attention or concentration. It might help if it's a short one too. These are the books that you want to read but feel like there are better, more engaging books out there. Think cheesy rom-coms with a basic plot line. These books are the perfect way to start enjoying reading again, as you're likely to finish this book in a short space of time and want to read another one straight away.
Tip 2: Set yourself a goal
Having goals is one of the best ways to achieve anything in life, and can be applied to reading too! This doesn't have to be anything spectacular, just a little goal that will encourage you to pick up your book on a regular basis. Maybe you want to read one book this month - this is a perfect way to make sure you read on a regular basis. As I'm trying to finish a book within a week regardless of length, I find sticking to a reading schedule is highly beneficial. I divide the total number of pages between 7 (days), then put sticky notes to mark where I must get to by the end of the day in order to finish.
Tip 3: Set aside some time specifically for reading
For an hour every day, my phone goes on aeroplane mode and I sit in a quiet place so I can focus on my book. I'm away from any distractions, I can concrete on what I'm reading and I find I get through so much more than I would if I read sporadically (of course, this is just my preference, you may find another reading routine works for you). I also spend about 30 minutes reading in bed before I sleep, which is great for winding down and relaxing whilst also giving yourself more quality time with you book. We are conditioned to keep ourselves busy and active every hour of the day, but our To-Do lists shouldn't just involve professional tasks - reading will take you away from the stresses of life and give you an escape, so why not designate time specifically for this?
Tip 4: Don't put pressure on yourself
Reading is for enjoyment. Whilst I take my academic reading very seriously and often set myself strict goals to make sure I keep up with the demands of the degree, what I read for pleasure is my choice and I read these books on my terms. If you have a day where you're just too busy to read, don't stress - just pick up where you left off when you have more time. Also, if you find what you're reading to be boring or unenjoyable, its perfectly okay to stop reading it and pick up another book - there are far too many great books out there to finish one that you're not enjoying. You never know, it may be the wrong timing, and you'll pick it up another day and really enjoy it.
Tip 5: Ask for recommendations
I love being part of the reading community. Whether this be through borrowing books from friends, or finding new faves on YouTube book hauls or bookstagram, I love getting new recommendations! If books are reccomendended, there's a high chance you'll like them, as no one would recommend a book they didn't think was worth reading. I take pictures or screenshots of the covers of books I'm interested in and add them to be 'TBR' album on my phone photos, which ensures I'll never drop into the slump of having nothing to read and always have inspiration for where I want to take my reading journey to next.
Tip 6: Reread an old fave
This is sure to get you back into the reading mood, as it'll remind you why you loved this book so much as well as why you love reading in general. Even just dipping into the first few chapters might be enough to get your reading habits back in check.
Tip 7: Browse a bookstore to find some inspiration
Going to a bookstore never fails to get me excited about reading, but of course we haven't been able to do this for a while whilst we fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's a lockdown alternative - browse online! This is a great way to get new ideas and explore the bestsellers list, as well as seeing which books are listed for prizes (Booker, Pulitzer etc.) and find new books you haven't heard of already. Also, I find that looking at beautiful and interesting book covers really inspires me to want to read, so browsing in store or online will be sure to excite you.